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Put down your mince pie, Christmas is cancelled at the Royal Armouries

Monday, 4 December 2017

This festive season the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds is taking a trip back in time to the 1650s and they have some terrible news, Christmas has been cancelled.

Caught in the turmoil after the bloody English Civil War, visitors must choose whether to join the Royalist Christmas insurgents determined to celebrate the season with music, decoration and delicious food, or the Parliamentarian ‘riot police’, equally determined to prevent any sign of idolatrous behaviour.

Throughout the event the two camps will be stationed around the museum delivering dramatic performances and engaging opportunities to delve into the period. Among the characters will be soldiers from New Model Army as well as Royalists in support of the return of monarchy.

Christmas was effectively banned in Britain by a 1644 Act of Parliament, with the Long Parliament of 1647 passing an ordinance which officially abolished the feast of Christmas making its celebration punishable. The ban remained in place until the restoration of the monarchy in 1660.

The Royal Armouries houses the Littlecote Collection, the most important surviving armoury of the English Civil War. Many private armouries furnished with relics of the English Civil War existed in Britain, but they were dispersed until the only major example left intact was the Popham armoury at Littlecote House. The Littlecote armoury was acquired by the Royal Armouries in the 1980s.

Commenting on the event, Mark Jackson, Events and Informal Learning Manager at the Royal Armouries, said: “We wanted to do something different this Christmas and what could be more unconventional than cancelling it all together? The English Civil War and Commonwealth that followed are incredibly important parts of British history, and perhaps periods that some know little about.

“This event will be a great learning opportunity for visitors of all ages, with plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained. It will also give visitors a chance to engage with our wide collection of arms and armour from this era in a fun and interactive way.”

To find out more about ‘Christmas is Cancelled’ at the Royal Armouries, visit:


Notes to editors

Further enquiries to: Katie Canning, Communications Officer, Royal Armouries at Telephone: 0113 220 1978

About the Royal Armouries

Entry to the museum is free but some activities carry a small charge.

– Royal Armouries has sites in Leeds, HM Tower of London and Fort Nelson in Hampshire.
– The Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds houses a major part of the national collection of arms and armour, and displays over 8,500 objects throughout its five themed galleries.
– Open all year daily, 10am-5pm. Closed 24-26 December
– Website:
– The Royal Armouries Museum should not be confused with Royal Armouries International plc, the private sector corporate hospitality business based on the same site in Leeds.

About the Royal Armouries

Entry to the museum is free but some activities carry a small charge.